He Makes Beautiful Things Out of Us

I would have to say today was a bittersweet kind of day as my granddaughter Gianna’s mommy got married, and not to my son.  It was a day of mixed emotions as I’ve secretly hoped she would marry my son and the two of them would become a family. I guess what’s important is that Gianna knows she is loved by her parents, and their partners.  More than anything I want her to know family and know how much I and so many others love her.

Families look very different from 2000 years ago. But one thing in common is that they still have dysfunction which has been around since the beginning of time.  It started with the first family of Adam and Eve. It did not matter that they lived in the Garden of Eden and had everything they could want. They really did have it all and still they were not happy and content with their lives. Remember, this was the place where waters flowed and beauty enveloped them every day. A place of no evil, no shame and where they could walk and talk with God! And yet, it was not enough.

Even in the best of lives circumstances they found a way to mess it up. Eve manipulated Adam to get her way as she encouraged him to take from the tree of good and evil, they experienced sibling rivalry between their son’s, jealousy, competitiveness, and lack of respect for one another. They experienced dark times with the death of Abel and the loss of Cain as God sent him away from the family.  Basically, the family fell apart because of choices they and their children made.  Definitely not the way God intended as He had prepared a beautiful life for them and for the generations to come.

A couple of years ago I was struggling to envision a healthy family. It felt so far out of reach I could literally not remember what it looked like, or what it felt like after struggling with my own. I made the decision to visit a friend from high school in North Carolina so I could spend some time in a home where two people made a commitment to one another, their children and powered through the years to see them through college, married, and living good lives. As I settled into my seat on my way home I closed my eyes and replayed tapes from the past, the good memory tapes. I talked to God about how I needed to have that vision of a healthy family so I could set my eyes on it and begin to put my prayer into action. It was then I felt his words so gently remind me of how families come in different shapes and sizes, and not every family is alike. We may face similar obstacles, struggles and share many of the same accomplishments when it comes to career, graduation, marriage, babies. But not one family is alike. Every one of us brings something unique to our family. We’re designed to make our families complete.

My family may have not been the Cleaver’s or the Brady Bunch but they’re my family. It’s a family I’ve loved and still love. It is a family I continue to pray for because we all need prayer. There is so much good in each one, so much talent and so much more needing to be healed in all of us. Unfortunately, the bad and the ugly have out powered the good for some time now. It’s been a battle of great difficulty, sorrow, loss and pain. It has been a journey I would not wish on any family and that is why I consider myself equipped to tell others what NOT to do!

I found this quote by Marge Kennedy today that seems to be accurate:

“The informality of family life is a blessed condition that allows us to become our best while looking our worst”

But in light of it all, God’s light, I know we’re loved and that his plan for us individually and as a family will come full circle. He has woven such growth and blessing as he continues to heal our family. I have faith there will be complete restoration some day.

In God’s goodness I now have 2 beautiful granddaughters and another grandchild on the way! My oldest son and his wife are growing their family. It is an exciting time as we experience God in different ways as he heals our family.

Somehow I needed that dream rekindled in my heart. I needed to see how families that work together really stay together. I think this is what Adam and Eve must have done, worked together with God to re-establish the family. All throughout the Bible we’re given examples of family, relationships and how to do it right. And yet, we can still get it wrong. Life is full of learning, loving, and forgiving. These are ingredients that help keep a family together. There will be things in life that get in our way and we may need forgiveness with lots of “Do Overs”. Guess what, we’re in luck because God forgives and is the giver of  “Do Overs!”  Although there is much work to be done I am reminded of how He makes beautiful things out of us.